SLUTWALK DELHI…….Are we ready?
A momentary loss of control over your tongue,especially at a law school,can start a revolution. Constable Michael Sanguinetti would be quite aware of that. While giving a talk on health and safety to a group of students in, Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, he made the now infamous remarks
“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he reportedly told them. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”…………………………..Constable Michael Sanguinetti
The statement precipitated the beginning of a large-scale backlash and a feminist movement…THE SLUTWALK, with the mission “To blur the definition of slut and protest the notion that a woman’s dress instigates rape..” It is not an average run of the mill college protest with placards and megaphones but a mass statement that the victim is not responsible because they have a style of their own. Sexual violence cannot be attributed to anyone other than the perpetrator. The protest march started in Toronto Canada and has quickly spread like wild file across the world, now it’s come to Delhi.
Is Delhi not the most appropriate place in entire India for the walk to take place. well it has the dubious distinction as the “Rape Capital of India”. This July women in Delhi are going to take to the streets with the aim to change a dictionary definition, and assert that they are not saying a yes, because their skirts are three inches shorter.
It is going to be something that we might not have witnessed in India, where women take to the streets with a demand. While we have seen sporadic instances of courageous women taking on the system for years together we have not witnessed a mass feminist movement. For Ages feminism was the prerogative of a page 3 socialite than the real women on the street. There is a chance that this walk could end up like a socialite events more like a fancy dress marathon than a real protest with clear intentions, or am I wrong would it be an actual face changing event.
It is also highly probable that the event will not take off either because there are not enough people on board or it does not get clearances from the government departments. It might also get into trouble with the Neta’s and their political buffoons that it is against our Sanskriti for women to protest on the streets or the entire movement can be booked under some crazy IPC immoral act.
But the underlying question is would the average Indian women understand the concept, only a tiny percentage of upper-class, élite, use the word ‘slut’ in India. I may be wrong here but even men don’t throw word slut or its Hindi variant directly at a woman’s face, (I am not sure behind their back) so is there enough meat on the movement. What is there to reclaim for the Word. Especially in Delhi women are not attacked because of how they look or how they dress but because of their vulnerability. More often when the alpha male believes that he can get away with it. Most victims of rape in Delhi I guess would be more conservatively dressed than an average college girl in Delhi University. So the first question, Are we ready for a movement like this Delhi. Right to dress for women in India is not determined by safety, it is embedded in socio-economic upbringing of the girl. Would women from all classes of the society be able to relate to it. Would they care enough to go to the streets and demand the right to dress which is so trivial compared to like right to live, right to marry one they love, right to educate, right to work, right to the same compensation and the list continues.
“The public space of the city is a battleground,SlutWalk is an urban struggle of necessity, but while I support the initiative, I’m not so sure you can take it out of context. How do I explain SlutWalk to my maid? I feel it’s confined to class, to a certain kind of woman.”
I guess the organizers also understood the difficulty of communicating the concept of SLUT to the general public so they are going to have a desi Slutwalk and it will be called Besharmi Morcha
“We changed the name after a group meeting. Not all people in Delhi will understand the meaning of ‘slut’. So after a lot of debate and discussion, we have finally zeroed in on Besharmi Morcha. This way, more people in India will understand the real concept,” Umang Sabharwal, a student of Kamala Nehru College, and spearheading the movement in Delhi
BesharmI Morcha ??? Now is that giving the right message out… does it not convey something dramatically different to what the Slutwalk is all about, is it not about trying to redefine the word SLUT… a word that caused anguish and pain and always used to hurt women. It is possible that I may be missing some point.
Now I am being cynical, the movement acknowledges that you are not raped because you dress like a slut, then why can’t the movement address the bigger picture of sexual violence than the right to dress. Why can’t the movement that has such a huge following direct the energy, effort and resources to something that would see a change in government policy or lead to legislation of more stringent laws or a more effective judiciary. Why restrict it to a walk which would not achieve anything significant, other than making a bold statement. May be it is just about making that statement, not about bringing a change, but then is it worth it?
I may be all muddled up